Gambia: Jammeh finally relinquishes power in Gambia, goes into exile

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - After relinquishing power, there are indications that former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, will leave the country to make room for the country's new President, Adama Barrow, who took his oath of office on Thursday in Dakar, Senegal, to return home.

Jammeh did not disclose which country he will be going to, but State House sources told PANA that the former Gambian leader will be leaving for Conakry, Guinea, on Saturday.

At a press briefing at 2am Saturday morning, Jammeh said basically he is relinquishing power in the supreme interest of the nation because he does not want a single Gambian blood to shed.

Speaking in the presence of Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative and head of the United Nations office for West Africa (UNOWA), and the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, Jammeh said: “As a Muslim and patriot, I believe it's not necessary that a single blood be shed."

He added "I have always worked for peace and security of our nation and Africa as a whole."

Particularly, he thanked President Conde, saying he came because they know who his true friends are.

He said during his entire time, Allah in his infinite wisdom, had permitted him to exercise power, and that throughout the time the sovereign people of the Gambia has put their confidence in him, his preoccupation has been to uphold the dignity of the people and the sovereignty of "this great" nation.

According to him, as a result of all the numerous sacrifices that they and those before them had made as a nation, the Gambia has affirmed its desire to determine its own future and destiny.

"This is a cause I have always been ready to defend, even with my life," he said. He noted that all the actions "we have taken towards building this nation up to this point had distinguished us among the best of nations."

Speaking further, he said his first preoccupation as President and Commander-in-Chief and as patriot was to preserve at any instance and circumstances, the life of Gambians.

Jammeh's decision to step down and hand over power came following rigorous and intense negotiation over the past weeks by ECOWAS for him to hand over power peacefully after losing the December 1, 2016, presidential elections to Barrow.

However, attempts by ECOWAS for Jammeh to step down peacefully failed with the regional bloc opting for military action.

But on Friday, January 20, 2017, the President of Guinea Alpha Conde, Mauritanian President Muhamad Abdul Ould Aziz and Mohammed Ibn Chambas were in the country to give peace a last chance which prompted ECOWAS to halt its military intervention.

In a late night speech on state television, GRTS, Jammeh said, for the past 22 years, Allah has permitted him to exercise power, saying the people put power on him to protect the nation.

Jammeh thanked Gambians and all friends of the Gambia, saying that his decision was not dictated by anyone or force but by the interest of the Gambian people.

“At a time when we are witnessing trouble in other parts of the world, the peace of this country should be guarded. I am proud to serve my country,” he declared.

He thanked the Gambian people, in particular the security forces, APRC Party militants and the National Assembly for the confidence bestowed upon him and the loyal support for the past 22 years. He also thanked his mother, wife and children for all their prayers over the years.
-0- PANA MSS/VAO 21Jan2017

21 january 2017 06:35:48

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